City police must be reined in [Letter]

July 02, 2014

Increasingly concerned about incidents involving the Baltimore police, I read the article concerning the review board and its lack of authority ("Civilian police review board floundering," June 30). I would not want the police to think nobody cares or is watching or think that its business as usual when officers go looking for trouble and get no real discipline.

Two men in Northwood say they have been stopped and beaten by the same two cops and now have joined in a civil suit. I'm not sure how this got to a second incident but that these two families found one another through a protest allows me to understand it's not news when officers pull someone from a car and beat them senseless. I'm outraged. These are not officers catching a burglar or stopping a speeder. This is an abuse of authority, and the officers involved are flexing muscle and picking a fight because they can. They need their guns taken away permanently because they cannot be trusted.

Another pair has found a snappy little dog, an expensive pet who ran away and caught it on a pole. Take it to the pound and charge the owner for its misdeeds, but instead they are now charged of gutting it in front of witnesses for sport. It's an abuse of power, a lack of compassion for an animal, destruction of personal property and shows brash ego and bad judgment. When one cop doesn't have the sense to stop the other, it's because they both feel pretty safe that they can get away with the crime. Take them off the street.

Last, an officer going to the wrong house has encountered a dog defending its people and yard. He didn't need to kill that animal. The dog did his job better than the officer who needed to respect that. His choice was to kill what amounted to a family member. He created bad press for the department and fomented the lack of trust that has been inherent for many for some time.

When bad policing moves from the ghetto where advocates are few to the middle class where it has been viewed as judicious, we see it's all the same. "To Protect and to Serve" has been overrun. The community will shoot with cameras but this war needs to end or it will escalate.

Beth Perry, Baltimore

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